Ginobili Ready For Finals After Rocky Showing In Playoffs

.
a
SAN ANTONIO
— The way Tony Parker sees it, his teammate Manu Ginobili might be playing a rope-a-dope until the start of The Finals.

“I still feel like Manu is saving his best for last,” said the point guard who has spearheaded the Spurs’ drive through the playoffs.

While Parker has been splendid and 37-year-old Tim Duncan asserting himself in spurts, Ginobili has struggled to display his old form through the regular season and the playoffs.

Ginobili missed 22 games during the regular season in which an assortment of injuries to his hamstring, calf and back held him down to a career low of 11.8 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting. The hamstring injury kept him off the court down the stretch of the regular season and barely enabled him to be minimally effective in the first round against the Lakers.

“It is great to have this opportunity to keep playing,” Ginobili said following Sunday’s practice. “I feel better. If we had lost in the first round, I wasn’t even back (right) after three weeks resting and sitting. If you lose four games in that round, you go home feeling bad about the whole season.

“But since the way things have turned out now, to tell you the truth, I even forgot about the regular season. I am feeling good now. We are in the Finals. Who cares? Nobody’s gonna remember I missed 20 games in the regular season. This is a great way to finish it. Hopefully, we can win four more.”

The continuing physical setbacks were a surprise even to a 35-year-old playing his 11th NBA season.

“I felt really good in traing camp,” Ginobili said. “I was coming from the Olympics in great shape. Then I got the first problem and everything started to get screwed up. Now though, I’m feeling good, I’m energetic and excited to be here.”

In the Spurs’ 14 playoff games, Ginobili is still averaging just 11.5 points and his shooting has dropped to 38.3 percent. However, he has played an instrumental, if inconsistent, role in helping San Antonio get a crack at a fifth championship for the franchise. In the Western Conference semifinals, Ginobili hit the game-winning 3-pointer to beat Golden State in the epic double-overtime Game 1. He also dealt 11 assists in two games of that series. While he shot 1-for-6 with six turnovers in the sweep-clinching win over Memphis in the Western Conference finals, Ginobili also handed out six assists and battled for six rebounds against the rugged Grizzlies.

Duncan has talked this spring about having a different, deeper appreciation for the Spurs playoff run as a long-time veteran who can see the finish line of his career approaching.

Ginobili, who will become a free agent this summer, told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News that he he wants to play one more season and hopes that it will be in San Antonio.

“I am not planning on retiring,” he said.

His teammates know that Ginobili’s value cannot be expressed by shooting percentages or sheer statistics.

“Just having him on the court for us is a world of difference,” said Duncan. “Whether he’s making shots or not, he generates things. He makes plays — takes charges, gets into the lane and disrupts what teams are doing. Just having that on the court in itself, even if he doesn’t make a shot, is huge.”

“Manu is one of the ultimate competitors in our league and has been for a long time,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich “He’s a big factor winning games, winning championships. He’s very important to what we do.”

That’s why there is virtually no question that the Spurs will want him, need him, back for a 12th season, though it’s generally understood that he’ll earn far less than the $14.01-million that made Ginobili the highest-paid player on the team in 2012-13.

That will also be welcome news throughout San Antonio, where Ginobili’s hellbent style of throwing his body all over the court quickly made him popular and over more than a decade has made him beloved.

“I completely love what I do and I think people can tell,” he said. “Even though I can start to see the end of the road, it’s hard to really imagine being a retired player because I really love what I do.

“I enjoy the locker room before the games. i even enjoy it after a loss, just the camaraderie to stay together, to go to dinner and talk about what we’ve done wrong. To feel like somebody supports you and you support somebody. You try to get over humps. It’s a really a great feeling and one you’re probably never going to have it again once you retire.”

42 Comments

  1. willie says:

    time for Mcgrady to prove his lost legacy..

  2. Arnolf Curl says:

    One of the best flopper of all time..

  3. Black says:

    That’s cheating if u get five files u are on the bench investigate that that not right and y’all know it of it was labron or a heat player they would have been on the bench

  4. ikol says:

    We need manu to retire… I’m sick of looking at his baldspot!

  5. Loki says:

    Go out with a bang Manu, 4 rings is a solid way to retire. Duncan with five, Parker wil have already solidified his own legacy with 4 and the spurs will once more build a core of great young players. I imagine the finals are a longshot once Timmy and Manu retire but they’ll be leaving the spurs in capable hands that can craft another contender in the future

  6. Patrock says:

    Even though he is not the Ginobili of old, he still finds ways to help the Spurs win games—he plays the game with great heart and spirit, which is what makes him so widely admired. It will be a sad day for us here in San Antonio when he steps down–everyone understands the Spurs would not have 3 of their 4 championships without his huge contributions. Feel sure the Spurs will re-sign him and let him play out his career here—nothing else makes sense. Bound for the Hall of Fame.

  7. Patrick says:

    Manu is the error in the Matrix.

    It´s a nonsense to say Spurs with Manu are even a little boring.

  8. Javier says:

    Im from Argentina so forgive me for my wrong language.
    I read all of the comments and i didnt see one speaking bad of Manu.
    I couldnt be more proud of him and he is our best player ever, and is an example in all sences.
    you said that he has to be in the hall? really? i cant believe, its hard to see that because of the distance but if you said it, i believe and im happy.
    ok, greetings from Mar del Plata, Argentina.

  9. GINOBILI>LBJ says:

    he is my hero.. being left handed too, i grew watching all his games and moves trying to imitate his skills. but the thing that separates him from all those amazing superstart is his heart and humility.. a person legit to be idolized.. ur my basketball hero.. you’ve shown us that even non-americans can compete and win the world of basketball.. should be immortalized at least by being a top 100 player in the history.. i will definitely miss watching u play manu!

  10. One for the Ages says:

    man, Ginobili retirering?, noooo..please don’t..nba will lose so much when you do, such a great player and person..watching you play is a delight and your interviews always puts me in a good mood, your accent is cracking me up everytime..

  11. One for the Ages says:

    El Confusion will strike again! A Team of Legends..I really respect them, love to watch them play and coach Pop is the funniest dude in the nba and a great coach. It’s amasing how they play fundamental bb, sharing the ball and involving everybody and developing young players..hats off and hope they get another-one with big3 on board.

  12. Drago says:

    He has a nice match up so i think he will do great in the finals.To me it’s Lenard and Green that will be most important they are the young blood that supposed to run up and down the floor against the Heat.

  13. Andrew says:

    Yawn – Manu is reckless and has lost the Spurs a bunch more games than we has won.

    He is the world champion for the Turnover and the flop!

    • 34yr fan says:

      please, andrew…….NO ….He has won Many more than he has “lost”……How many games have you seen or been to????

  14. J says:

    if the spurs win the championship then i’d say duncan and ginobilli will retire

  15. Kamote says:

    Back in the days where Manu was drafted 57th pick. No one knows who he is, then he lead Argentina in giving the USA Dream Team their first loss ever, and eventually winning the WBC that year. All the other NBA teams were like “WTF!?!? 57th pick?!? Who is that guy???”, while the Spurs are like “You guys don’t know how to do your homework” LOL.

    • Loki says:

      I’m still baffled Manu fell so far back in the draft. He has to have been the biggest steal in draft history because of that. Well played San Antonio. I’m guessing Splitter may very well become a solid and consistent center due to the Spurs eye for underrated (see tony Parker) international players

  16. Peter says:

    At times i hate Manu because he manipulates the referees and flops, but he is a really, really good player. You could make a case he’s the second best shooting guard of the post-Jordan era. I think he’s been at least as good as Wade (i think Kobe in his prime was better). Definitely he could have had huge scoring numbers if he’d wanted too; but he’s so clutch and totally a team player and a winner

  17. mattchew says:

    manu!!!!!! im cryiing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! noooooooooooooooooooo

  18. Basketball says:

    I hope he gets final MVP this time…

    • Marco29 says:

      He would really have to raise his ppg and shooing percentage to get that trophy. If Spurs win, it will probably be Parker or TD but Manu’s contribution will be key. He will be the X-factor once again.

  19. Johbu says:

    Seriously when the time ginobili retires, i will literally cry

  20. berto says:

    Obiwan Ginobili… May the force be with you in the finals! Go Spurs Go!..

    – from Pinas.

  21. realist2013 says:

    Love the Spurs. I enjoy team work in any genre and on and off the court they are consistant Beasts. Stats dont show everything he’s an impact player that you have to respect on a good or bad night. You never see the Spurs in drama and they show selflessness to keep their team together taking big pay cuts to maintain the core and role players that have kept them among the best over 3 decades. Hats off to Manu and Co.

  22. Peso says:

    Gino, Petro and Dirk…3 of the best international players ever

    Gino and Dirk going to the hall

  23. cvqqqq says:

    “Ginobili, who will become a free agent this summer, told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News that he he wants to play ONE MORE SEASON and hopes that it will be in San Antonio.”
    Wait, does this mean he’s planning to retire after the next season??? Noooooooooo! Manu you’ve got at least 3 more years left in you. Whatever happens in the finals this year, we still remain as one of the top contenders as long as Tim and Manu stay on the team. Manu should retire when Timmy does, and then let Parker and the young guys take over.

  24. Ren says:

    I hope TD and Ginobili won’t retire yet. Give it a year or two more. That’s why you bring Tmac in hoping to continue the run….. Let’s wait and see how they complete this year final. All the best. Go Spurs !

  25. fabrice says:

    best underrated played ever

  26. anthony says:

    hall of famer no doubt. his “el contusion” years have finally caught up to him, but that being said, it proves that he laid everything on the line for his team, be it the spurs or argentina. his competitive spirit makes him sacrifice his body to do whatever it takes to win.

  27. Chuck B says:

    Definitely a Hall of Famer, but not as recognized due to his location in SA, even though he is sporting a few rings. Could you imagine if he played in NYC? Take a look at his best plays on YouTube! Keep writing him off, same as DWade they will burn you bad!. Even though they are injured they still better than the players on the bench. GINOBLI!!!!!!!!!

  28. Loki says:

    Man… Ginoboli is already close to retiring? Where did time go?

  29. I say ….he is the best international player ever….

    Manu is mora than Hakeem
    Manu is more than Dirk

  30. He is in the point. “We are still the champions”

    GREAT PLAYER. GOOD HUMAN BEIN

  31. Mati says:

    One of the best international players ever. I hope he will be a hall of famer one day.

    • Game Burn says:

      He will be, but I hope it doesn’t take too long. He already deserves the recognition.

    • XD says:

      said an Argentinan

    • Marco29 says:

      He will be fore sure as the only player to have won Euroligue, World championship and NBA titles. He is the X-factor for the Spurs, always contributing in variouis ways on both ends and always creating. He brings unpredictability to the Spurs’ game and in the minds of the defenders.
      Spurs will need the best of him to win ring #5.

      • Matías says:

        He never won a World Championship. Just a Gold Olympic Medal.

        Que grande Manu!!!

      • Aleberger says:

        Bill Bradley also won a Euroleague, NBA chip and Olympic Gold. He and Manu are the only two to accomplish this feat.